|Yusry (standing sixth right) receiving items, part of his sponsorship deal, from Abdul Karim (fourth, right). Also seen are Sim (fifth, left) and others.|
KUCHING: Muhammad Yusry Haziq Idris hopes to one day meet his idols Neymar and Andres Iniesta after winning selection for the Million Dollar Feet (MDF) grassroots football programme recently.
Both Neymar and Andres Iniesta are currently with Spanish footballing giants Barcelona. According to the Limbang native, it was a dream-come-true to get the opportunity to travel to Europe and experience professional football there.
Preferably slotted as an attacking midfielder, Yusry also revealed that he is inspired by Safiq Rahim, seeing the Johor DT player as a role model. “Right now, the only thing on my mind now is the trip to Europe. I hope to impress anyone who watches me play while I am there,” he added.
Yusry, who is expected to travel to Europe in mid-November, was attending a sponsorship ceremony presided by Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at Baitulmakmur Building on Thursday.
There, he received sponsorship from a local sports retail outlet, Lea Sports Centre (LSC), whose managing director Raymond Sim Hee Pang said LSC has always believed in sponsoring bright Sarawakian youngsters who excel in sports.
“It is not restricted to football. So long as a Sarawakian youngster is outstanding in sports, we would do our part in helping the youngster. This was because we have always believed in young talents,” he said.
Abdul Karim congratulated Yusry for his achievement and hoped more Sarawakians will follow in his footsteps. Yusry, a student at SMK Tabuan Jaya here, has been chosen as one of the two promising youngsters in the country who participated in the inaugural MDF this year. About 10,000 young football enthusiasts, aged 11-14 years from nationwide auditioned in the programme where only the two best players were selected for an all-expenses paid trip to the United Kingdom (UK).
The final selection was held at the Royal Selangor Club, Bukit Kiara in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday (Oct 23) to select two Malaysian footballers for the 10-day ultimate experience in UK, with the opportunity to be witnessed by scouts from top European football clubs. Adam Roshan from Kuala Lumpur was the other player selected for the UK trip.
The programme saw former Liverpool captain Steve McMahon, who is the head coach of the programme conduct drills and tryouts in Penang (Sept 24-25), Kuantan (Oct 1-2), Kuching (Oct 8-9), Johor Bahru (Oct 14-15) and Kuala Lumpur (Oct 21-22).
The MDF is a football project to seek out young talents for tryouts with European clubs with the idea of putting the first Malaysian footballer on the world map by getting the player a stint with a top European side, according to MDF director of football Peter de Kretser.